We admit, pilots may grasp the game concepts practically immediately, but others may need a helping hand to get started. This is guide should help those who are having some problems.

At it’s most basic level, you have to understand the compass headings and how airport runways follow those headings. North is 360 (or 0), East is 90, South is 180, and of course West is 270.

Runway numbers match the first two numbers of the compass heading. So runway 36 is on a heading of 360. So if you are planning to land on runway 36 you’re due South of the runway and heading directly North.

To see the runway numbers on your screen, turn the training mode on in the iATC settings page.

Airport Runway Basics

If there are two parallel runways, as there is in iATC, the runways are referred to as L(left) and R(right) in relation to the runway approach. With the example above, 36L is the shorter runway on your left hand side.

Now turn yourself around. If you are about to land going the other way, the runway is now called 18 (for the 180 direction). And the L or R designation changes as well. Now 18L is the long runway because it would be on your left hand side as you fly south on your approach to the airport.

Think that’s confusing? Try flying a plane in real life to one of these airport.

Questions Still? Email us at support@punkstarstudios.com

Aircraft Flow Control

In the real world, weather determines which runway a plane will land on, in iATC you don’t have that concern; all you have to do is decide which runways you want to use and send the planes there.

You should develop a flow that works for you, but we can suggest a popular one here.

Aim to land planes on 36L or 36R. As planes enter your scope, head them South on a heading of 180, drop them to a 500 foot altitude and slow them down to at least 150k. Ever see planes forming a line around your airport? Well, you can do the same. Get all the planes lined up and spaced apart. Bring some planes down the right hand side of your scope and the others down the left. Split the landings between 36L and 36R. Any planes coming up from the south, get them lined up due south of the airport and then give them a 360 heading (make sure they are low and slow enough to land).

How Do They Land?

When you start the game you get a little reminder.

Basically the plane needs to be at 500 feet, at 150k or slower and lined up with the runway (within 30 degrees) to land, and a Vector command (we’ll talk about that below) has to be issued... think of it as a cleared to land command.

This all has to be setup before the plane gets to the threshold (start) of the runway. Halfway over the runway doesn’t cut it in the real world or this one.

If you issue the Vector to 18L and you try and land him on 36R (or any other runway), it’s not going to work. The plane will just keep on flying past the airport and you’ll have to turn him around again, issue a new command, and try again.

Controlling the Planes

Basic control of the planes is done by altering their speed, heading, and altitude. First things first. You need to select the plane you want to control. All planes coming onto the screen start out green. If you want to select one, simply tap on it and it will turn white. Some basic plane information will also be displayed down below the heading buttons. So long as that plane is white, every command you give will be given only to that plane.

Note:  With version 1.6 the way you control your airplanes has received a make-over. Instead of tapping buttons to change your altitude and speed you now use a ‘throttle’ style lever.  There is also a new waypoint system in place to assist you with your  traffic controlling needs.

Descend. You’ll want a plane to descend for two reasons, avoid hitting another plane, and get him ready to land. Every tap of this button brings him down 500 feet. Descent doesn’t happen instantaneously, it takes time for him to get down so start him down as soon as it’s safe to do.

Ascend. You’ll want a plane to go up for two reasons, he’s departing the airport (look for departures in an upcoming version), or he’s about to cross close to another craft and you need to provide some vertical separation. If two planes

ALTITUDE : How high a plane is, is said to be it’s altitude and it’s measured in feet. In iATC, two planes will “crash” if they get too close and are less than 500 feet from each other.

SPEED : How fast is a plane flying? It’s measured in knots. To land a plane it needs to be at 150k or less. How fast they cross your scope is determined by their speed.

Turn Left. Every tap of this button will turn the airplane counter clockwise. And you guessed it, it’s not immediate. A plane needs time to change it’s heading. One additional thing complicates this, speed. The fast a plane goes, to wider it’s arc to a new heading.

Turn Right. Every tap of this button will turn the plane counter clockwise in 10 degree increments.

HEADING : The direction they are flying is their heading. If they are heading due North, they are on a heading of 360. In the real world headings and tracks usually differ slightly, but not in iATC.







These instructions are for Version 1.6.

The current version in the iTunes store is now 1.5 but you should see this new version soon.


Autopilot waypoint system

‘Throttle” style speed/altitude controls

De-clutter option

Issue Command

Before a plane can land, a command must be issued.

To make things simple, a “direct to” command, and a “cleared to land” command has been combined into one.

With a plane selected, click on the round white button at the bottom right of your screen. This menu (shown to the right here) will pop up. If you click on the Vector to 36L, the plane will be given a heading that will take it directly to the threshold of 36L runway.

HINT: The plane needs time to turn. So if he’s moving fast, and on a 270 heading, by the time he’s on turned to the heading that was calculated to take him to there with this command, he may be too far to one side to be properly lined up.

You can do a few things to correct for long turning times though...

You can either redo the command again and it will again calculate the heading to get him there... since he’s already heading in the general direction, the time to get to that heading will be pretty quick and most likely will take you right to the runway. Just MAKE SURE the plane’s heading is within 10 degrees of the runway. So if it’s 36L or 36R that the plane is told to land on, he’ll have to be between 350 and 10 degrees by the time he gets there.

You can also give manual heading changes with the two button. The command is still valid though, so you won’t have to reissue the vector command a second time (although it’s suggested since it will send him directly to the threshold).

Configure iATC

The iATC Configuration screen is located in the iPhone/iPod’s Settings page (outside of the game).

Click on the “Settings” icon on your main iPhone/iPod home screen. Scroll down. The last section is for application preferences. You may see several applications of yours listed here, iATC will be one of them. Just tap it.

With version 1.6, you have 7 configuration options.

Game Speed : Four settings allow you to set the pace of the game, Slow, Normal, Fast, and “Are You Nuts?. Kudos to those who can play on that last one.

Max # of Planes : This sets the maximum number of planes that can be on your screen at one time.

Detect Collisions : If this option is turned off, you can fly planes around to your heart’s content without worry of them crashing into each other. With it turned on, planes need to stay away from each other and at least 500 feet apart in altitude


Every regular plane starts off being worth 10 points.  For every minute it is in your airspace it loses one point.  When you land the plane its points are added to your score.  If it ever drops below 1 point it becomes a low-fuel plane and must be landed as soon as possible, but is not worth any points.  Be careful though, if you crash the plane you’ll lose 20 points off your score. regardless of how many points it has.  Also if you ever receive a proximity warning you’ll be deducted 5 points.  But don’t worry, there are more ways to earn points!   If a departed plane leaves at the correct altitude you’ll get 5 points, but if it leaves at the wrong altitude you’ll only get one.  If it leaves at the correct heading you’ll get 5 points, but if it leaves at the wrong heading you’ll lose 5 points.

Points are displayed by hitting the “Stats” button, along with many other statistics from your game.

Wanna brag about your huge score? Take a screen shot by tapping the Home and Sleep button together and the screen will be saved in your photos album, ready to be emailed out. Send us some screen shots - we’d love to post them.

Emergencies : This sets the odds/frequency that emergency flights will appear. When an emergency “Low Fuel” flight appears, you’ll need to get them in for a landing right away or else they will fall off your radar screen and crash.

Training Mode : When this option is turned on, you’ll see the compass rose as well as the runway markers as seen here. There is no decreased difficulty in handling of your planes mind you - this option option only gives additional on screen information.

Plane Information Window

If you want to see all the information on a plane, simply double tap on the plane’s text on the radar screen.

The pop up window will give you all the information on the plane including it’s size and speed limitations.

If the plane has departed from the airport it will also display the minimum altitude and desired heading for exiting your airspace.

The three sizes of planes are Heavy, Medium, and Small.

Resume Game Play

Exit the game at anytime. If there were any planes on your scope when you exited, you will be asked the question you see here. NO will create a new game, while YES will load up the planes where you left off.

Proximity alerts and sound effects are also some new additions to the game. When two planes are dangerously close - audible and visual clues (planes turn red and a proximity annunciator lights up). When they crash... you’ll know it.

WAYPOINTS : A brand new feature with version 1.6 is the Waypoint system.  All you have to do is select a plane and then tap anywhere on the screen.  A waypoint will be dropped on that location and the plane’s autopilot system will take over and do the rest!  You’re heading will dynamically adjust itself in order to arrive at the exact point you set.  You can drop up to 3 of these points for each plane and it will navigate to them in order.  Just remember, you’ll still have to issue the command for your final approach.  And you can still use the heading buttons to fine tune your direction.

Frequency of Departures:  This sets the frequency that departure will become ready from your airport.  When you see the “Departure” alert you’ll know one is ready.  All you have to do is tap on the Departure button that appears and you’ll be brought to the Departure page.  From there simply chose a plane and runway and off you go!  Whenever a plane departs be sure to check its information window to find out which direction and altitude it should leave your airspace at.

Font Size: Having trouble seeing everything on your scope?  Does the de-clutter button erase too much information for your liking?  Try changing the font size.  Switch it between Large and Small and see which one works best for you.